Yesterday, Pageant Planet created and published an article, "What Pageant Should You Compete in Based on Your Dress Size?
" that caused quite a bit of controversy within the pageant community. We wanted to take a moment to address the controversy and explain the article.
The intent of the article
Most of the controversy surrounding the article was the idea that this article's purpose was to tell pageant contestants that they cannot be successful in certain pageant systems based on what size dress they wear. This idea paints a picture of tearing women down based on their looks instead of helping women of all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, etc. be successful in pageantry no matter what their appearance is.
The intent behind the article is, in reality, much different than that idea.
Frequently, Pageant Planet receives heartbreaking stories of girls who compete in systems and are told that they're "too big" or their body doesn't fit the type of girl the system is looking for. The common thread among these stories is that each girl wished she knew this before investing her time, money and energy preparing for a pageant that wasn't a good fit for her. One example of this was mentioned in the comment section on FaceBook after we posted the article...
On our Facebook post of this article, many women shared their experiences as plus size women in pageantry. Many of whom appreciated the blunt honesty in the article because of negative experiences and wasted time and money on systems that were not willing to accept them for who they are.
Unfortunately, this disappointment comes from many young women all too frequently in the pageant industry.
This article served as a way of notifying girls that despite some pageants claiming to be welcoming to all body types, one look at former winners tells a different story.
Does this mean girls should avoid competing in certain systems because they don't look like past winners? Absolutely not. It does, however, mean that girls deserve to be informed before investing their money and time into a program that may not be willing to invest back in them.
Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, also saw the article and has some comments she wanted to share. Check out what she had to say here:
Starting the conversation
Ultimately, the pageant industry as a whole is not where it should be in terms of body inclusivity. This article was meant to give our readers a realistic view of the landscape of pageantry as it stands today, not how it should be or stay.
We do apologize to anyone who may have felt discouraged by the article that was posted and we want to assure you that was not our intent. We hope instead that this article will serve as a starting point for a conversation surrounding inclusivity and body positivity in pageantry. The climate currently in place will continue to stand as is unless we, as a community, demand change from pageant systems and pageant directors who do not value diversity.
We try to post articles that progress the industry forward as much as possible. In the past we have posted articles like, "How to be Comfortable with YOUR Body
" and "How Pageantry Has Changed to be More Than Just Outer Beauty
." Over the years, we have tried to focus on aspects of pageantry like community service, academics and being a well-rounded titleholder alongside traditional pageant preparation.
We will continue to post these positive articles and hope to stand with you all while this industry continues to shift, change and develop into a more inclusive and relevant industry for all.